Top 10 Tropical Islands You Have to Visit

There is something about a tropical Island that can turn even the most stressed out, overworked person into a relaxed and rejuvenated individual. Unlike taking a rushed weekend trip to a crowded beach nearby and staying in a chain hotel, the lure of a small resort surrounded by palm trees and clear blue water is a dream many people have. The Islands and beautiful beaches in Asia are some of the very best in the world and offer visitors everything from small secluded resorts on white sand beaches to social tourist hot spots with a party atmosphere. No matter what, you’ll be able to find an island that caters to your needs giving you a great experience with prices that will make your friends jealous. Quit dreaming and start planning that trip of a lifetime cause we’ve compiled an easy list of recommendations for the best tropical islands in Asia!

10. Tioman Island, Malaysia

Located in the South China Sea, a 40 minute flight from the capital of Kuala Lumpur, this 29,000 acre island offers coral reefs and clear water. Here you have the option of a simple hotel located in a seaside village or a resort on a secluded beach. Spend your time on the island jungle trekking seeing the exotic wildlife like monitor lizards and monkeys or visiting one of the many waterfalls. You can check out one of the villages and get to know the locals, do some duty free shopping or spend some time on the 18-hole golf course. Of course you are never far away from the beaches. Whether you like scuba diving, snorkeling or just reclining in a beach chair with a cool drink, the beaches are only a few steps away. Unlike some of the more crowded destinations, Tioman Island can be your relaxing trip of a lifetime.

Tioman Island

9. Panglao Island, Philippines

Unlike the more famous island of Boracay, Panglao Island is less crowded and less of a party atmosphere. Located off the Southwestern tip of Bohol connected by a bridge, the island is a great place for families and couples to relax and enjoy the laid back island life. Boats line up on the beach daily for island hopping and dolphin watching excursions. Nature preserves, cave tours and the UNESCO listed Chocolate Hills are easy day tours. Another great place to visit is the Philippine Tarsier Foundation where 331 acres have been set aside for the research and protection of the Philippine Tarsier, one of the smallest mammals in the world. Ecotourism, world heritage sites and beautiful white sand beaches make this Island one of our top picks and one you should definitely visit.

Panglao Island, Philippines

8. Akajima Island, Japan

An Island belonging to the Kerama Islands group in Okinawa, Aka Island can be reached by a one hour high speed ferry from the capital of Okinawa. Popular with Japanese tourists you won’t find many foreigners here. Visit the beautiful Nishibama Beach a one km stretch of white beach on the northeast coast, enjoy humpback whale watching, snorkeling and diving. Aka Island is popular with marine biologists due to the diversity of sea life and coral reefs. While most tourists visit on a day trip there are a few hotels and hostels where you can stay and relax for a few days. A small island, it is easily explored on foot. You might even catch a glimpse of the famed Kerala deer which swim between the islands. If you are looking for a quiet place to enjoy nature and get away from the crowds, Aka Island is a good choice.

Photo by: Jordy Meow via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Jordy Meow via Wikimedia Commons

7. Efate, Vanuatu

Efate has been the site of three international versions of the popular “Survivor” television show. Efate is Vanuatu’s third largest island and the most populous. With Eco tours, adventure activities such as jungle zip lines, scuba and snorkeling, markets and nightlife, it is no wonder Efate is a popular destination. For a glimpse of what ancestral islanders lived like, a visit to the Ekasup cultural village is a must. Learn firsthand from the village chief and his warriors about how it was when cannibalism was the order of the day. Visit the tranquil Mele Cascades waterfalls, take a volcano tour by air or enjoy one of the island’s beaches. There are also several fishing charters available if you’re looking to land the big one. There are several day tours available, water parks and various water sport activities to make your trip more memorable. Accommodations range from luxurious resorts and spas to budget hotels.

Efate, Vanuatu

6. Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands, named after famed British explorer Captain James Cook, who visited the islands in 1773. Rarotonga has everything you would expect to find on a tropical island. Crystal clear blue lagoons, little traffic except for an island bus and some scooters, bone white beaches and coral reefs. Inland you will find a rugged tropical landscape teeming with wildlife and terraces where bananas, coconuts and pineapples are planted. The island is known for its beautiful white coral and limestone churches. If you happen to visit one for Sunday services don’t be surprised if you are invited to stay after for refreshments. A market day happens every Saturday where you can sample local food and buy some souvenirs. There is also a golf course, fishing expeditions and numerous diving sites to enjoy. With no streetlights, friendly people and beautiful beaches you may not ever want to leave.

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

5. The Maldives, South Asia

A tropical nation, the Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls. Located in the Indian Ocean. You can take your pick of resort islands, private islands, city hotels or a cozy guest house. Scuba diving, golf and island hopping await you on what could be the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy dolphin and whale watching, take a day trip to one of the uninhabited islands for a private getaway, enjoy local food or spend the day shopping. For divers, a wreck dive at the site of the Maldives Victory, is a definite must do. A 60 meter long cargo wreck lying 20-30 meters deep is where you can explore the cargo holds and check out the sea life. Accommodations range from budget friendly, cottages perched on stilts over the water and super luxurious resorts. Spend your days diving, exploring the city of Male or relaxing on the beach. When nighttime comes, head out to one of the resort bars or take a walk on the beach,but beware the crabs tend to enjoy the beaches at night also.

Maldives

4. Ambergris Caye, Belize

The largest island in Belize can be reached by plane or ferry. Besides having some fantastic beaches, Ambergris is home to the Belize Barrier Reef which is the second largest reef in the world second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. While diving, snorkeling and fishing are some of the main attractions you should also visit the Marco Gonzalez Maya site. There are over 19 sites on the island, but none had ever been preserved until 2009 when efforts to begin preservation started. The site is now a national reserve that has a visitor area along with continuing excavations. Relax on the beaches, dive the reefs or just sit and enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many beach bars on the island at the end of the day.

Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes

3. Tahiti, French Polynesia

What would a list of the best tropical islands be without including Tahiti? The largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti is another island on one of Captain James Cook’s travels. Tahiti also known as the “Queen of the Pacific” has been visited at one time or another by Spanish explorers, British explorers to include Captain Bligh and the HMS Bounty, French explorers, the Viceroy of Peru, whalers from Australia and missionaries from all over. They must have known something, and that is, Tahiti is a beautiful place. You can enjoy professional surfing competitions, several festivals throughout the year or if you’re brave enough – get a traditional Polynesian tattoo. You’ll have to spend time at one of the nature parks, enjoy the watersports, take a boat tour, visit some of the historical sites or just enjoy the beaches, Tahiti can be a dream vacation.

Tahiti, French Polynesia

2. Koh Lipe, Thailand

Thailand used to be a place where you could find secluded beaches and islands with little or no tourists. Recent movies, travel blogs and press have made Thailand more popular than ever. There is one place that you can still get away from the majority of the tourists and enjoy a tranquil tropical paradise. Koh Lipe is an island located on the southern part of the Thai Andaman Sea accessible by boat from either Bangkok or Malaysia. There are several beaches and nearby uninhabited islands reachable by long boat. Rent a long boat for a day trip and go island hopping where you can lounge on a deserted beach or go snorkeling on Sunrise Beach and get up close to schools of fish. Come watch the sunset on the beach or visit one of the island bars but don’t tell anyone, Koh Lipe is our secret.

Koh Lipe, Thailand

1. Bali, Indonesia

Bali is an island and province in Indonesia, also the country’s largest tourist destination. Bali offers coral reefs and dive sites, surfing, vibrant nightlife and activities for singles, couples and families. The majority of the population is Hindu and there are several temples worth visiting. Goa Lawah Temple or the Bat Cave as it is known as a popular destination along with Tanah Lot temple which sits on a rock and is completely surrounded by water during high tide. Go white water rafting, visit the waterpark or one of the nature reserves, go hiking, learn to scuba dive, surf or just enjoy the hospitality of the Balinese people. Bali is a large island with lots to see and do so if you plan to visit give yourself time to really experience and enjoy the island, and no, we won’t call your boss for you and tell him you won’t be back to work on time.

Bali, Indonesia

10 Things to See and Do in Belize

This tiny country that is sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala is quickly becoming one of the hottest eco-tourist destinations in the world. Here is where you will find amazing preserved ancient Mayan cities, lush tropical jungles and stunning white sand beaches with brilliant blue waters to swim in. Throw in the fact that English is the official language, the weather is beautiful all year round and there are hundreds of islands to visit just a boat ride away and it’s no wonder people are flocking here year after year. From beaches to ruins to the famous Blue Hole; here are 10 awesome things to see and do in Belize.

10. Take a Helicopter Ride

There is diving into the Blue Hole, another experience unlike any other and then there is flying over the Blue Hole, an experience that will absolutely blow your mind. If you have never taken a helicopter ride, Belize is the perfect country to do so. Flying over the Blue Hole can be costly, but seeing the near perfect circle of indigo surrounded by coral reefs is truly breathtaking. Helicopters will hover allowing you to take fabulous photos. Other helicopter tours are offered throughout the country taking visitors above the city itself and the barrier reef. The pilot will also take you over many of the islands just offshore. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and divers on these tours! Whether you are floating through the air above the world famous Blue Hole or discovering what the reef looks like from above, we can promise it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Blue Hole, Belize

9. Visit the Ruins of Lamanai

It is one of the biggest and best excavated Mayan sites in Belize and worth a visit if you are in Belize. The ruins are known for both their marvelous architecture and the stunning scenery they are set in. They are surrounded by dense rain forests overlooking the New River Lagoon and most visitors choose to get there by boat. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful jungle, wildlife and local archaeology as they make their way to the ruins. Many of the ruins here are open to tourists and can be climbed, giving panoramic views of the surrounding area. Beautiful trails lead from ruin to ruin while spider and howler monkeys can be seen all over the place. If you are interested in the fascinating history of the Maya civilization, Lamanai is not to be missed.

Lamanai, Belize

8. Head to the Beach

The country itself has over 240 miles of coastline and hundreds of islands and therefore no surprise one of the top things to do here is hit the beach. The Placencia Peninsula is the longest stretch of beach in mainland Belize and dubbed as “barefoot perfect”. It stretches across three villages, offers restaurants and nightlife and all of the beaches here are public. If you are looking for something a little quieter, head to Half Moon Caye where Caribbean waters, a crescent shaped beach and white sand set the stage for a magical day. Part of the Caye is a protected turtle nesting site while the other half is home to a littoral forest with a protected red-footed booby sanctuary. There are countless beaches in this country, whether you get there by boat, plane or foot and be sure take some time to explore more than just one of them.

Half Moon Caye

7. Dive the Blue Hole

The Blue Hole descends over 400 feet and only experienced divers can sink into this world famous sinkhole. Snorkelers can explore the surrounding coral reefs but only experienced divers can descend along the wall down to 130 feet. Here is where you will find an array of limestone formations and bizarre stalactites. There are no colorful fish or coral down in these depths but you may be privy to a hammerhead shark or two that like to hang around. Other marine life that likes to hang out down there is barracudas, rays and reef sharks. There is nothing quite like the silence that surrounds you when you are 130 feet deep, surrounded by the stalactites of the collapsed prehistoric cavern. This is a dive you have to check off your bucket list.

Pete Niesen / Shutterstock.com
Pete Niesen / Shutterstock.com

6. Tube the Caves Branch River

There is nothing quite like floating seven miles underground in the river of caves with only a headlight to guide your way. The adventure starts with a 20-30 minute hike through the jungle lead by a guide you have hired beforehand or one of many that hang around the entrance. The guide will provide you with interesting facts about the flora and fauna on your way to the river. When you reach the river, the tubes are tied together and off you go immediately into the caves. The cave formations are unique and inside you are privy to waterfalls, rock formations and crystals. The water is cool and refreshing and the cave portion lasts about 30 minutes. The tour ends with a final tube ride through the river where it is possible to spot toucans and howler monkeys. Inner tubes, hard hats and lights are all provided by the guides.

Tubing River

5. Stay in a Jungle Lodge

Belize is certainly the place to visit if you are looking for a stay in a unique lodge in the heart of a jungle. This country is home to many eco-lodges whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation or something of luxury. When you think about a jungle lodge in this country, think about world-class spas, infinity pools overlooking the treetops, elegant thatched cabins, exotic birds flying overhead and delicious food. Depending on what you are looking for, you can find a jungle lodge right on the river where zip lining and canoe adventures await, or one tucked deep in the jungle that demands a helicopter ride to reach it. Staying at one of these unique lodges means everything is taken care of and you can simply sit back and relax.

Photo by: Belize Hub
Photo by: Belize Hub

4. Visit the Zoo

The history of the zoo is an interesting one. It was created back in the 1980’s after a documentary being filmed about the animals of Belize left many of the animals too tame to be reintroduced into the wild. Sharon Matola who was in charge of taking care of these animals decided to start the zoo and made it into something of a rescue facility. The Belize Zoo is known for displaying species that are endemic to the region and housing animals that were orphaned, injured and bred in captivity. Taking a night tour at the zoo is highly recommended as many of the animals are nocturnal. One of the most amazing things about this zoo is the interaction between the zoo animals and wild animals from the surrounding jungle. Don’t be surprised to see snakes, birds and iguanas roaming the grounds as well as howler monkeys talking to their nearby jungle relatives.

Photo by: Bjorn Christian Torrissen via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Bjorn Christian Torrissen via Wikimedia Commons

3. Escape to the Islands

Visiting the islands and islets of Belize is a must for any traveler who is craving white sand beaches, brilliant blue water and a place to relax. Visitors have their choice of hundreds of islands, over 450 to be exact, and some are much more accessible than others. Caye Caulker is a popular spot for backpackers and those not wanting as much luxury. Here no cars are allowed and people get around by golf carts and foot. If you want something a little bigger with more options Ambergris Caye is where you will find more hotels, water sports and plenty of restaurants and bars. If you are looking to escape reality and curl up in a hammock under the sun you should head to Tobacco Caye where this tiny island is only home to a handful of locals who are willing to rent out their guesthouses.

Caye Caulker, Belize

2. Climb Ca’ana

Caracol is the most spectacular Mayan site in Belize and it is here where visitors will find the large pyramid of Ca’ana. There are actual 35,000 buildings on this site and many have not been excavated yet, but the ones that have begged to be climbed. Ca’ana is the highest of them all and it is a grueling trip to the top. What makes the trip worth it though is the view from the top. The pyramid stands 143 feet high and is the highest man made structure in Belize. The stairs to the top look like they are made of giants and climbing them is certainly an adventure in itself. Once at the top you have striking views of the jungle and the treetops, keeping your eyes peeled for jaguars, monkeys, toucans, tapirs and scarlet macaws.

Ca'ana Pyramid, Belize

1. Snorkel in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Belize’s oldest marine reserve provides an unparalleled diving and snorkeling experience while protecting marine life along the north section of the Belize Barrier Reef. To get here visitors have to hire a boat and a guide and trips usually run twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The marine reserve is essentially divided into four zones, the first being the Hol Cut Chan. Here divers and snorkelers will find a huge abundance of colorful and friendly fish. Rays, lobsters and eels also make an appearance in these waters. The second and third zones are home to sea grass beds and mangroves. Shark Ray Alley is the fourth zone and divers are guaranteed to see a school of nurse sharks that loiter around in these waters. Stingrays also call this place home and while not dangerous, it is important to remember these are all wild animals.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve